Decatur parents petition school district to place superintendent on leave

For months, several City Schools of Decatur parents have petitioned the system to put the superintendent on leave and not renew his contract.

Now, residents who do not have children enrolled at CSD say they're concerned lawsuits against the superintendent will cost them hard-earned money.

"People were filing for unemployment, being laid off left and right and we're just going to give our superintendent a 12% pay increase in the middle of a pandemic," Susan Camp said. "That was the biggest red flag I saw from our board."

City Schools of Decatur parents, like Camp, said two pending lawsuits against the superintendent that claim he underreported time off for more pay and retaliated against employees are cause for a leave of absence.

"That's a very typical protocol for any public servant who is under investigation," she said.

David Dude has worked for the district for about six years, and his contract states he's eligible for bonuses of up to $20,000 a year.

He's facing lawsuits that prompted the board to renegotiate Dude's contract to clarify vacation usage.

In January, a former City Schools of Decatur employee filed a lawsuit against the school system and Superintendent Dude. The suit claims Dude lied about his hours worked to receive salary payment for unused vacation.

Camp's February petition to put Dude on leave because of the ongoing investigations into his behavior garnered more than a hundred signatures.

"It's not a very big school system," Dale Jolley said. "Where are the administrative costs coming from?"

Jolley has lived in Decatur for 26 years and said he didn't need to have kids enrolled at the city schools to start his own petition. It has nearly two hundred signatures in two weeks.

"Our taxes going up and we don't get anything of it. We're in that middle group, with no kids in school but don't qualify for senior exemptions so if I'm paying for it, I want it done right," he said.

The school board sent FOX 5 a statement. It reads:

"The City Schools of Decatur Board understands how challenging it can be to follow school finances and we are always looking to improve our communications with stakeholders. A recent petition, based on inaccurate reporting in a local blog, calls for changes that are not based in factual information. We encourage interested stakeholders to review facts we have available regarding administrative costs and budget. We look forward to sharing additional information in the near future."

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